I've been looking for this red table wine blend for almost two years now, since the 2006 release. I made a concerted effort to find the 2007 release at my local Trader Joe's, but both lots sold out within days of arrival at the local Trader Joe's because just about everyone was buying a case or three. The Trader's Joe's wine clerk mentioned that she's hearing that this year's version is better than last year's. It's bottled by Chariot and sold exclusively to Trader Joe's. I started hearing about it from wine bloggers and wine lovers who would excitedly let the world known when their local Trader Joe's stock of Chariot Gypsy arrived. You can read what wine blogger Jason says about last year's Chariot Gypsy here. Yesterday, I saw Jason's 2008 Chariot Gypsy alert post, and hustled off to see if this time my local Trader Joe's would have any in stock. They did, and I left with two bottles of Chariot Gypsy 200 California red wine blend, ABV of 13.5.
According to the Chariot Website, Chariot Gypsy 2008 wine is
a delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Sangiovese from great vineyards in the Napa Valley, Sonoma, San Joachin, and Monterey counties.
Once the cork was removed, the initial aroma was heady with ripe fruit. Some minutes later in the glass, the aroma was still ripe with fruit, but there was something deeper and more earthy there as well. You can taste the Cabernet Sauvignon, but there's a spicy quality there, possibly from the Zinfandel or the Sangiovese; I honestly don't know enough to be sure, and there's this interesting thing about well-blended wine in that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Chariot Gypsy 2008 is pleasant enough on its own, but it's much better with food—this was fabulous with a cheese burger with sauteed mushrooms. It's going to be lovely with pizza too, and I'm curious about trying it with a red Thai curry; it could be quite awful, but there might be a lovely gestalt with Thai spices in a tomato base and this wine.
I note that Jason isn't alone in his regard for this wine; Scott of the Vino File also thinks it's a good week-night dinner wine. Viva La Wino is less enthusiastic about Chariot Gypsy 2008. As for me, I'm planning on going back tomorrow to see I can find some more; it's a super wine to take to the park and serve with Peppercorn Steak. We're planning to go back to pick up a few more bottles for later, if there's any left. The local Wine manager told me she didn't expect it to last the week, and though there was a small chance of getting more later, she wasn't confident at all.